Monday, January 14, 2008

Onward and Upward

I can safely say that I know my dog pretty well. I know his moods by the elevation of his eyebrows. I can tell when he's bored by his sighs and the way he watches me out of the corner of his eye. I can predict exactly which spot he'll pick to poop on. I know when he's hungry, when wants to dance, what foods he will and won't eat (he's surprisingly picky), when he'll get up in the morning, whether or not he's in the mood to cuddle, if he'll tolerate Pip taunting him, if he prefers Tug-of-War to Fetch, whether or not he's interested in my presence at all. I can read my dog like I can read a Denny's menu, but the one thing I still can't figure out where he'll mark his territory.

Admittedly, he was a late-bloomer to the concept of lifting his leg. When we first got Duncan my friend Christine told me that it took her Dalmatian, Whitey, six months to figure it out. When Duncan reached his one-year mark without so much as raising a foot I told myself he was moving at his own pace and to be encouraging and supportive without adding undue pressure to him. Heck, even I get gun shy! By the time he was two and still peeing like a girl, I couldn't help my concern. Was it something I'd done?! But a few months before he turned three he started dabbling with the idea of a leg-lift, popping it up every now and then, first on a discarded pile of phone books then on someone's puppy. After apologizing to the puppy's owners I think I felt the way a parent does when their child learns to ride a bike. He's doing it! He's doing it! He's actually doing it!

Now, of course, he does it all the time, but I must say, he's quite particular about where. No longer is he content with a sign post or even a shrub; now he's got to climb to the top of a pile of snow or even skooch as far up the side of a tree as he can reach. I've seen him mark the most unlikely and awkward of places. I've joined him in scouting out locations but apparently Duncan has a far more discerning eye than I do. He must pity me and thank his dog god I'm not like him, some rank amateur willing to mark any old nook and cranny. No, a real pro aims higher, strives ever upward and onward. In this respect I'm all too human and should simply leave that work to the dog.


traci said...

What a weird, little post!

I've heard it has to do with whether or not they learn before they are neutered. Murphy still squats to pee almost all the time. I actually prefer this method not seeing why he has to expose himself at every opportunity. Chloe is always the lady. She doesn't sleep on her back like her brother with everything out there in front of god and everybody. She prefers to keep her privates, well, private.

NodakJack said...

I remember just about 37-years ago when Duncan's owner made his appearance in the world. There was no mistaking his ability to lift a leg. The first thing he did upon grand entrance was lift his leg on the doctor. The doctor looked at me and said, "LOOK! OUTDOOR PLUMBING!"

Ruth said...

[no comment]